Center for District and School Accountability

  • Description
  • Funding History
  • Proposals

The Center for District and School Accountability (CDSA) monitors and reviews the efforts of schools and school districts to improve academic achievement. It acts as an auditor within the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to review school districts across the state and report these reviews to policymakers and the public.

A high-quality education for all residents of the Commonwealth is a key part of providing opportunity to young people and strengthening our state economy. Identifying areas where schools are struggling as well as sharing best practices and expertise across the state can help districts provide a better education for young people in Massachusetts.

The Center for District and School Accountability must audit no less than 40 school districts each year. 30 of the audited districts are chosen because they have lower performance than the state overall and peer districts serving similar students. The remaining 10 audited districts are selected based on having higher achievement levels or at random. The CSDA uses audit teams of experienced education practitioners to undertake its reviews.

Audits are required to review school and district finances, curriculum, professional development, overall student achievement, MCAS support and improvement plans, management, and governance. The CDSA also has discretion to investigate topics of interest regardless of whether they fall within the distinct categories outlined in state law.

Before 2008, this oversight function was done by the Office of Educational Quality and Accountability (EQA), which acted as an independent sister agency of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. In August 2008, the Massachusetts Legislature created the CDSA as the successor agency to the EQA, and integrated it into DESE.

Update May 2015

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